“Boys! Mom and Dad are about to leave for dinner. Andrea will be here to stay with you while we’re gone, but she’s running a bit behind.” Adam and Damon’s mother shouted from the kitchen as the twin boys played video games on the couch. “Ugh! We don’t need a babysitter! We’re almost 13!” the twins groaned. The doorbell rang, and their mother, Mrs. Anderson, rushed to open the door. “Mrs. Anderson! I am so sorry I’m late,” Andrea, their babysitter, said, “I couldn’t bring myself to let my little sister, Sophia, stay home by herself. Is it okay if she stays with the boys and me? My mom is working late tonight.” A younger looking version of Andrea stood with her arms crossed at the doorway. “It’s really okay if you say no. I don’t need a babysitter. I’m 13.” said Sophia. “You sound just like my boys. I would be happy for you to stay, Sophia.” Andrea smiled and Sophia rolled her eyes as they made their way into the Anderson home. “We’ll be back around 10. In bed at 9, please boys.” Mr. and Mrs. Anderson said as they left.
When Sophia made it to the living room, the boys looked up from their game with a shocked look. “Oh no.” Sophia said to herself. Sophia and the twins have an.. odd relationship. She is a year older and is part of the middle school varsity cheerleading team. She is also a math tutor for students in the grade below her. The boys are good at math but they get tutored by Sophia anyway because they’ve had a crush on her since elementary school. Sophia despised being around them. “Andrea, can I have a word with you in the kitchen, please?” said Sophia. Andrea looked disappointed but led Sophia to the kitchen. “You could have told me that THESE are the Andersons that you babysit!” Sophia said. “If I would have told you that it was Adam and Damon, you would have never come with me and I didn’t want you home alone, Sophia. I’m sorry but we only have to be here for a few hours. Please just try to get along with them until we can go home.” Andrea said.
Sophia sighed and stomped back into the living room and plopped down on the couch. “We aren’t that weird, you know.” Adam said, looking at Sophia. Sophia paid no attention to him and continued to scroll through social media on her phone. “Wanna play a board game?” said Damon. “Absolutely not.” Said Sophia. The three kids sat in silence on their electronics for a while before Andrea came back from the kitchen. “Pizza’s in the oven” Andrea said, “Let’s play a game.” The kids sat up and sighed as Andrea grabbed a board game from beneath the coffee table. “House of Horror? We hate this game!” the boys groaned. “I love this game.” Sophia said with a smile, “Creepy stuff is kinda my thing.” Andrea looked at the kids, waiting for them to decide. “We’ll play, I guess.” said the boys and Andrea opened the box.
After playing the game for a half an hour or so, the oven timer dinged and Andrea got up to get the pizza. Sophia found that the boys weren’t as bad as she thought and was starting to have a good time. “You really like creepy stuff?” Damon asked Sophia. “Oh, yea. I love horror movies, crime shows, haunted houses, all of the above.” she replied. “There’s a bunch of old weird stuff in our attic from the old people that lived here before us. We haven’t had time to clean it all out.” Adam said. “Can we go up there?” Sophia questioned with an intrigued look. “Pizza!” Andrea yelled from the kitchen. The kids stood up. “If we eat really fast, we can go up there and look around before she makes us go to bed.” the boys told Sophia and she nodded in agreement.
The entire pizza was gone in a matter of minutes. “They’re going to show me something upstairs, if that’s okay.” Sophia told Andrea. “That’s fine. Be good. Boys, you’re still going to bed by 9. All of you have school tomorrow.” Andrea said to the group. They all nodded and the boys promised to be ready and in bed by 9. They rushed up the carpeted stairs and down the hallway. Damon grabbed the string hanging from the ceiling and pulled down the latter leading to the attic. “Wait!” Adam said before Damon started to climb. Adam ran to his room and grabbed a flashlight before running back. “Okay, we can go now.” One after the other, the kids made their way into the dark attic. Cobwebs ran between each wooden beam and dust floated through the air. “Woah.” Sophia said in awe. The boys were proud of themselves for impressing her for once. “It’s just an attic.” said Damon as his cheeks turned red.
The kids dug through old boxes for what seemed like hours. Sophia found old fancy hats and scarves that she wore as she searched. Adam found an old cane and a top hat that he decided to wear and stare at himself in a full-length mirror, pretending to be Abe Lincoln. Damon found a monocle that he wore as he looked through a box of dusty old newspaper. “Guys, look at this.” Sophia said. She rubbed the dust away from the cover of a photo album titled, The Records of Hawk Creek. Hawk Creek was the name of the Anderson’s neighborhood. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just a book full of middle-aged dads grilling hotdogs and kids falling off trampolines.” Adam said. Sophia opened the book. In memory of the founding fathers of Hawk Creek was printed on the first page. Damon flipped to the next page and it was full of black and white pictures of gravestones. “This is gross.” said Adam. The next page had two pictures of men in caskets with coins over their eyes. “People used to believe that the coins they put over the eyes of the dead, allowed them to pay to be taken from the world of the living to the dead. Eventually, when people stopped believing in the river styx, they really just put coins over dead people’s eyes so other people didn’t have to look at their sinking eye sockets as the body decomposed.” Sophia told the boys. “You’re so weird.” Damon said. “Says the boy that gets tutored by me JUST to talk to me.” She snapped back. They continued to flip through the book. Page after page contained pictures of dead bodies with eye coins and gravestones and funeral processions.
“Can we stop looking at this now?” Adam said. “Why are you scared? Is the 12 year old sca-” ting “Ouch!” Sophia was interrupted by something hitting the side of her glasses. “Damon, that wasn’t funny! That hurt!” Sophia yelled. “I didn’t hit you with anything! Something must have fallen!” He defended himself. She looked down and on the dust covered floor laid a shiny gold coin. She picked it up and held it up to the photo album. “Ew!” She yelled and dropped the coin as she realized it looked identical to the ones in the pictures. “Who’s scared now? Hahahaha- Ouch!” Adam said. Sophia pointed to the ground at another coin. “Did something just hit you?” she whispered. “Uhm, Yes?!” Adam said as he rubbed his head. Damon looked up at the ceiling and froze. Sophia turned and looked at his pale face, “What?” Damon pointed at the ceiling and all three kids looked up to see one of the dead men from the photo album laying lifeless between the wooden beams.
Adam and Sophia screamed in shock and grabbed Damon by the arms pulling him toward the stairs. They all rushed down from the attic, screaming and pushing one another. Andrea rushed to see what was going on. “What happened? Someone needs to tell me what’s going on now!” Andrea yelled over the screaming kids. “He’s dead!” Damon shouted. “The coins fell out of his eyes and hit us!” Adam screamed. “Close the stairs! Lock the attic!” Sophia demanded. “Woah, woah, woah! Can we all just breathe, please? We’ll go downstairs and talk.” Andrea closed the attic door and led the kids downstairs. They were no longer screaming, just silent and pale. Andrea sat them down at the kitchen table and said, “Listen, we played a scary game tonight, attics are dark and kinda creepy, and you guys probably just saw a shadow. I promise I’ll have Mr. Anderson take a look when he gets home. But let’s just try to forge-” Andrea was cut off by Sophia’s scream. “Andrea, he’s behind you!” she screeched. The dead man from upstairs was now standing behind Andrea with the coins replaced over his sinking eye sockets. The boys joined in on the screaming and Andrea spun around. The figure disappeared but the coins dropped to the floor, rolling to a stop beside Andrea’s feet. “Do you believe us yet?” Adam yelled. Andrea’s rosey cheeks turned pale and matched the kid’s.
“What the hell did you kids do in the attic? I need every detail. NOW.” Andrea demanded. “We were just looking through stuff that the old couple left here when they moved out, before we moved in. It’s mostly just old people’s clothes and dusty newspapers.” Damon explained. “But I found a book,” Sophia mumbled, “and it was called The Records of Hawk Creek. It just looked like an old photo album so we dusted it off and looked through it. In the beginning it said that the pictures were of the founding fathers of Hawk Creek, but the more we looked, it was dead people and funerals.”
Andrea’s face got more pale and she looked like she was going to panic. “What’s wrong?” the boys asked. Andrea took a deep breath and explained, “I always thought it was a myth. When we moved into this neighborhood, I used to help Mrs. Reich down the street with her yard work because she was too old to do it by herself. Sometimes she would invite me in for lunch and I felt rude if I didn’t say yes. One day at lunch, she told me a story about the people that founded this part of town, Hawk Creek. They were two wealthy businessmen that built beautiful stone houses in the most remote part of this city, which we now know as our neighborhood. Eventually, everyone wanted to live in Hawk Creek and the men couldn’t put up the houses fast enough. People started to get angry with them and threaten to take their business elsewhere. The men couldn’t handle the stress and hung themselves in the last home they built. Mrs. Reich said it was awful because no one of that time would ever think of doing such a thing, especially those two men. Because they died in this way, the townspeople were scared that the two men wouldn’t make it into heaven, so they covered the eyes of each man with gold coins. The funeral was documented by nearly everyone in town and the photos were put into one album and locked away in the house they died in. Mrs. Reich swears that sometimes when she walks by this house, old gold coins fall and roll past her.”
“So, what do we do about it, Andrea? I don’t want this guy living in my house.” Adam said. “Mrs. Reich always said that when people thought they would see the two men walking or standing in front of the windows of this house. They would bury the album. It always came back to the same place it was before, but burying it once kept the ghosts away for a decade.” Andrea answered. “Now, who’s going to go back up in the attic and get the album?” Damon asked. Andrea sighed and answered, “I’m the adult. I’ll go get it.”
The four of them slowly walked back upstairs. “Are you sure you want to do this? Maybe we should tell some other adult to do it.” Sophia whispered to Andrea. “No one else is going to believe you. I didn’t even believe a few minutes ago. I have to do it.” Andrea responded. They reached the attic and Andrea wrapped her hand around the string and began to pull the stairs down. Two more gold coins dropped from the attic and hit Andrea as they fell. The boys picked them up and held them as Andrea climbed. “Be careful.” The boys said to her. She got up into the attic and tried not to look at the ceiling. Sitting on a pile of old newspapers, was the photo album. She grabbed it and tossed it down to Sophia before climbing back down. As she was reaching the ground, she looked up at the attic. “He’s still here.” She said to the kids. “I’ll grab the shovel.” Said Damon as he ran back downstairs.
The three remaining kids met Damon in the garage. He was staring out at the backyard, like he was when he first saw the man. “I saw him again. By the treehouse.” He whispered to the group. Without responding, they headed out to the yard and Adam started digging. “It doesn’t have to be a big hole. If your parents say anything, say that it was Mr. Jenkins’ dog again.” Sophia said. Once the hole was big enough, Andrea carefully placed the book inside. Before they could start to bury it, the coins from inside slid across the ground and into the hole, burying themselves as they went in. Coin after coin, the hole began to fill itself with dirt. Once the last coin was inside, the grass that covered the spot before, grew back. The four stood staring in awe.
“What the heck.” Adam said with his mouth ajar. “I’d say we did it.” Sophia said. Damon started to gain the color back in his face and everyone began to calm down. “It’s 9:30. Time for bed.” Andrea said as she motioned the kids inside. “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m not going to sleep for days.” The boys complained. They made their way back inside and Andrea made sure the boys got ready for bed before tucking Sofia in on the couch. She walked back upstairs to check on them and the boys that “weren’t going to sleep for days” were fast asleep. Downstairs, Sofia laid on the couch looking up at the fan and Andrea reclined in the chair waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Anderson to return home.
The doorbell rang once again and Andrea hopped out of the recliner to open the door. “How were the boys?” Mrs. Anderson asked as Andrea opened the door. “Perfect. As always.” Andrea responded. “They didn’t give you any trouble?” Mr. Anderson asked. “I wouldn’t call it that.” Sofia answered from across the room.